An Island Health worker is vaccinated at a clinic in Victoria last month. (Island Health photo)

An Island Health worker is vaccinated at a clinic in Victoria last month. (Island Health photo)

Long-term care workers in Nanaimo and Campbell River receiving COVID-19 vaccinations

Island Health says it has received additional 3,900 Pfizer vaccines

With additional COVID-19 vaccines available, the health authority for Vancouver Island has detailed plans to expand vaccinations to the central and north Island region.

In a press release, Island Health said an extra 3,900 doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine have been received, allowing it to expand immunization outside the greater Victoria area, with clinics now planned for both Nanaimo and Campbell River.

Care support and medical staff working in long-term care will be eligible to be vaccinated and people who qualify will be contacted directly by Island Health on how to set up an appointment, the press release said.

At a media conference Thursday afternoon, Dr. Richard Stanwick, Island Health chief medical officer, said about 1,900 vaccine doses will be bound for Nanaimo, 950 for Campbell River and some diverted to Victoria due to demand. Stanwick said shipments of the product will be coming weekly and there will be “consistency of availability of the Pfizer product.”

Vaccine development was sped up due to the pandemic and when asked what assurances he could give for people’s concerns, Stanwick said officials have confidence that compared to historical record, the vaccine is going to prove to be safe. It likely will be one of the most studied vaccines in the history of medicine and results and impacts will be tracked, the doctor said.

“This is such a sophisticated vaccine in that it is actually a packet of messenger [Ribonucleic acid] that is basically injected into the arm,” said Stanwick. “The muscle cells take it in. It’s a blueprint for a protein. Once the protein is made, the messenger RNA is destroyed. It migrates to the surface of the muscle cell and the body … starts making antibodies to it. So it’s probably one of the purest and simplest ways in which we’ve really ever seen in terms of trying to create immunity in the human body. It’s an exciting time for new vaccine development.”

story continues below

In terms of vaccine rollout, Stanwick said officials are ahead of schedule as some of the “best minds in public health said we wouldn’t even be talking like this until the fall.”

“That’s how long they thought it would take for a vaccine that would be 95 per cent effective to be developed and being produced in numbers that we could at least start a vaccine campaign,” said Stanwick. “I would suggest we could be as much as seven to eight months ahead of some of the optimistic predictions … so from a public health perspective, we have another tool in the tool chest to deal with COVID.”

Sharron Traub, manager of Dufferin Place in Nanaimo, welcomed the news.

“Our No. 1 goal throughout this pandemic has been to protect our residents,” Traub said in the press release. “Providing the vaccine to front-line health-care workers in long-term care is a critical line of defence to keep this virus out, and an important show of support for those caring for and protecting some of the most vulnerable members of our community.”

The sentiment was echoed by the manager of Yucalta Lodge in Campbell River.

“Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine gives all of us working in long-term care renewed hope and a sense of relief after many months of vigilance,” Jae Yon Jones said in the press release. “While our entire team is weary, they are resilient and heartened by the added layer of protection the vaccine will provide for both themselves and the residents they care for.”

Island Health is adhering to B.C.’s vaccination plan, said the press release. Residents and staff in long-term and assisted living, individuals in hospital and hospital health care workers, paramedics and isolated First Nation communities are among those receiving priority.

RELATED: Snuneymuxw asks for COVID-19 vaccine ASAP as counts rise



reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CoronavirusIsland Healthvaccines

Just Posted

Parksville Coun. Doug O’Brien. (PQB News file photo)
Parksville Coun. Doug O’Brien explains opposition to 4-way stop at high-traffic intersection

‘None of us on council have the education or training to recommend traffic control systems’

The Parksville Civic and Technology Centre at 100 Jensen Ave. Chesapeake Shores film crew will be on location from May 17 until May 19, 2021. (PQB News file photo)
‘Chesapeake Shores’ to film at Parksville Civic and Technology Centre starting May 17

Public parking limited on Jensen Avenue and Craig Street during filming

Arrowsmith Search and Rescue manager Ken Neden, as he goes over the events of the Qualicum Falls river rescue on Dec. 12, 2020, for a United Kingdom television program “Unbelievable Moments Caught on Camera’. (Mandy Moraes photo)
UK TV show spreading news of daring Qualicum Falls river rescue across the world

Arrowsmith SAR trio share their accounts for ‘Unbelievable Moments Caught on Camera’

(PQB News file photo)
Nearly 1,500 ballots cast during advance voting to fill vacant slot on Qualicum Beach council

Officials expect ‘historic high voter turnout’ to continue

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
MISSING: Salt Spring RCMP find woman’s car, still seek Island resident

Sinikka Gay Elliott is 5’3” with a slim build and dark brown short hair

A Saanich man received almost 10 years in Supreme Court in Courtenay for a shooting incident from 2018. Record file photo
Shooting incident on Island nets almost 10-year sentence

Saanich man was arrested without incident north of Courtenay in 2018

Bradley Priestap in an undated photo provided to the media some time in 2012 by the London Police Service.
Serial sex-offender acquitted of duct tape possession in B.C. provincial court

Ontario sex offender on long-term supervision order was found with one of many ‘rape kit’ items

Rich Coleman, who was responsible for the gaming file off and on from 2001 to 2013, was recalled after his initial testimony to the Cullen Commission last month. (Screenshot)
Coleman questioned over $460K transaction at River Rock during B.C. casinos inquiry

The longtime former Langley MLA was asked about 2011 interview on BC Almanac program

Steven Shearer, <em>Untitled. </em>(Dennis Ha/Courtesy of Steven Shearer)
Vancouver photographer’s billboards taken down after complaints about being ‘disturbing’

‘Context is everything’ when it comes to understanding these images, says visual art professor Catherine Heard

Trina Hunt's remains were found in the Hope area on March 29. Her family is asking the public to think back to the weekend prior to when she went missing. (Photo courtesy of IHIT.)
Cousin of missing woman found in Hope says she won’t have closure until death is solved

Trina Hunt’s family urges Hope residents to check dashcam, photos to help find her killer

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Restrictions will lift once 75% of Canadians get 1 shot and 20% are fully immunized, feds say

Federal health officials are laying out their vision of what life could look like after most Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19

Most Read